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Ireland Gay Marriage Referendum Underway As Country Votes On Same-Sex Marriage

22/05/2015 16:21 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 16:59 BST

In Britain we're used to being nagged or nagging others about the importance of voting - but the Irish showed exactly how it was done in today's referendum.

Polling stations across Ireland were buzzing as the country went to the polls on the hotly-debated issue of gay marriage.

Voters are being asked to answer one simple, specific question on whether to amend Article 41 of the 1937 Constitution by adding a new clause to a section titled The Family.

It asks voters to support or reject a change to the 78-year-old document which reads: "Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex."

It does not suggest any change to the definition of the family or remove any outdated references in the section, including those that state a woman's place is at home.

It is only 22 years since Ireland decriminalised homosexuality.

Although the country recognises civil partnerships, it does not recognise marriage between people of the same sex.

Twenty-one countries have already extended marriage rights to same-sex couples with Ireland's electorate of 3.2 million people being given the chance to make history as the first in the world to bring in the reform by popular vote.

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Voting turnout appears to be high as people flocked to polling stations right from their opening time of 7am. Voting will continue until 10pm tonight.

The country has seen a surge in voter registration in recent weeks, 66,000 mostly young people and students, and among the electorate are 400,000 18-25-year-olds, who Yes campaigners believe will be key to a successful passing of the proposal.

Since there was no postal voting option, Irish expats keen to have their say travelled back to the country from around the world.

A number of high profile figures have given their support to the Yes campaign, including Stephen Fry, Jonathan Ross and Ed Sheeran.

Ireland Votes On Gay Marriage